When I thought about starting my YouTube channel, it made sense, to begin with, teachings on the Victim Triangle. You see, that was where my growth work really began. When I started therapy some years ago, I thought I had a handle on who I was and felt pretty self-aware. What I wanted to focus on was how to deal with the people in my life that I wasn’t getting along with or just struggling to be in a relationship with.
As a therapist, we are encouraged to do our own work, so committing myself to deal with things, makes sense to me. In the past when I went to therapy, the one thing that would leave me feeling frustrated with was despite how much work I did on myself; it didn’t seem to change the relationships in my life. I was at a loss.
I am a ferocious reader, always immersing myself in self-help, psychology, and spirituality books. I love to learn and find the time spent very worthwhile. The books I have collected over the years are powerful reminders of the wisdom and lesson’s that other people have shared. I am grateful for books like The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz), Co-dependent No More (Melody Beattie), Daring Greatly (Brené Brown), Love is Letting go of fear (Gerald Jampolsky), Broken Open (Elizabeth Lesser), and so many more. Each one has been a gift in my life of greater understanding and often bringing peace. Frequently, I quote them and regularly refer books to friends and clients. But, reading books can only take us so far.
When something would happen that was upsetting or conflictual, I would get offended, hurt, or angry. I would blame and judge others, of course quietly and to myself. I would see myself as better than because I had gone to therapy and thought I knew more. I would behave arrogantly or righteous. I was either defending or explaining myself to others. I would try to have thoughtful responses to sound intelligent and healthy, but the inside didn’t match the outside. It was like living in different worlds – what I projected on the outside and what I was feeling on the inside were not in alignment. And the kicker was, I didn’t see ANY of it!
What transformed the way I was able to see and be in the world, was looking at myself through the lens of the dynamics and roles of the Victim Triangle. It’s funny to me that we see ourselves every day, and yet, we really don’t. I didn’t understand how my behaviors impacted what was happening in my relationships. I was always trying to understand other people’s actions and motives, thinking that if I could understand them, I could do something to make the situation better. I wanted harmony and peace in my life and relationships. The problem was I spent more time looking at what the other person was doing than paying attention to my feelings, needs, behaviors, and how I was showing up in the world.
In time, I learned to see my reactions and emotions to things and identify if I was in the role of the Victim, Perpetrator, or Rescuer. I became familiar with not only what triggered me, but also how my wounds and trauma were impacting me and my relationships, especially my perception of what was happening in front of me.
I learned to get in touch with my feelings in a healthy way. I began to understand what healthy boundaries are and how to set them for myself as well as respect others. I learned how to take care of myself when I was activated (emotionally), so I didn’t make poor decisions by reacting without thinking or acting impulsively. Ultimately, I learned to be more conscious and aware. I could sit with my feelings, without needing to try and fix, repair, or destroy the situation. I could pause, and breathe, and lean into what was right for me. I was no longer letting people down because I was no longer a people pleaser. I could be honest and upfront, no matter how uncomfortable. And believe me, it can be incredibly painful at times.
I began to take my power back and was okay if other people did not understand me, or agree with my choices. It’s totally cool if other people don’t understand me or what I do because no one else has walked my journey. At the same time, I feel free because I do not feel the need to analyze other people’s life choices, as I don’t know what they have gone through on their path. That isn’t the reason I am here, I am here to learn love and compassion. I could let that go. I felt a sense of freedom because I could just focus on getting clear about what was happening for me and arrive at a place of knowing what was right for me and navigate life from that place.
Ultimately, I have learned and continue to learn to see myself with clarity. Do I know what I am feeling? What are my needs right now? What do I need to do to take care of myself? Once I am in a calm state of mind, I can check in and ask myself if there is anything for me to do or is there nothing to do. I can manage me better.
I think one of our lessons in this life is to learn about ourselves and who we are. And when we think we have it figured out, or feel like we are close, we learn more! How wonderful! It’s like falling down the rabbit hole, only the deeper you go, the clearer it is. Sometimes it is darkest before the light. Just as we would not appreciate the stars without the darkness, we can’t recognize our strengths without knowing where we need to grow.
Share with friends and loved ones.